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Using Real-World Data for Oncology Treatment

  • Vice President of Clinical Informatics, XIFIN

Last year, I had the pleasure of co-authoring an article in Oncology Practice Management with Randy Erickson, RN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Utah Cancer Specialists, Nitin Chandramouli, MD, FACP, President of Utah Cancer Specialists, and Linh Mekuria, MPA, clinical informaticist with XIFIN, Inc. The article, titled “Treatment Patterns and Prescribing Practices Based on Real-World Data” explores the value of adding information on how other clinicians are treating similar cases to accepted guidelines and treatment regimens.​

Due to the multitude of patient-related factors, including gender, race, age, biomarkers, and comorbidities, there is clearly no one approach to treating patients with cancer. Nevertheless, there are general guidelines, including those published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), designed to help guide treatment practices. Clinicians are also aware of which treatment regimens are generally prescribed to treat specific types of cancer.

The Value of Adding Analytics Based on Real-World Data

Analytics on real-world data provide evidence can be leveraged to make better informed clinical decisions, based on what is working in the field. With analytics clinicians can access patient data as well as obtain an aggregate view of what is happening among a certain cancer population. Providing summary dashboards to clinicians gives them a quick overview of which regimens are in use to treat their target population. This information can provide real-world evidence of treatment options that may be viable alternatives when standard regimens are not producing expected outcomes.

This high-level view of which treatments are being administered to specific populations has benefits for multiple stakeholders, including clinicians and pharmaceutical companies. For example, a clinician treating a patient diagnosed with metastatic urothelial carcinoma will typically prescribe a platinum-based combination chemotherapy as first-line treatment, which is consistent with NCCN guidelines. However, there may be a subpopulation of patients who started on a different regimen as first-line therapy. From a clinician’s point of view, understanding more about the sub-population prescribed a different treatment may provide insights into a particular patient and existing health nuances that make alternative regimens a better choice. Pharmaceutical companies can also use this information to develop educational campaigns and target specific providers with additional resources to ensure their prescribing practices remain aligned with NCCN guidelines.

Visualization of Treatment Data

There are two dashboards developed to help close knowledge gaps and highlight treatment patterns. The Sankey dashboard illustrates treatment progression from first-line to second-line treatment. The Market Share dashboard displays treatment by month initiated. Although both dashboards focus on similar information, individually, they address specific use cases and are valuable tools to provide insights into the patient population from a treatment perspective.

Historically, guidance used to inform treatment and prescribing practices relied on NCCN guidelines and published reports from clinical trials. Incorporating real-world data into the decision-making process is becoming a standard practice. Access to practice-level data in a dashboard view can be extremely valuable when more relevant data can help evaluate the current situation or in cases of rare cancer types where formal clinical guidelines are not yet established.

Read the full article and see examples of the dashboards in Oncology Practice Management. 

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Published by XIFIN
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